Bills owner Terry Pegula won't use the word struggle. He has a 'nose to the grindstone' belief that if you keep at something you'll be rewarded. That's why Sean McDermott was so appealing to him as a head coach. He embodied that same mindset and an unyielding will that helped to push Buffalo's football team over the playoff hump on Sunday.
"As Sean's been saying, this is a process and you never give up," Pegula said. "(Sunday) was an example of what happens when you keep plugging away. Obviously, the Bills have achieved something they haven't done in a while."
Pegula was in the locker room with his players and coaches as they intently watched the Baltimore-Cincinnati game come to a close. He wasn't front and center. He was off to the side, taking it all in.
"I stayed pretty quiet because I'm like a minnow in here with these guys," he said smiling. "I don't want to get stepped on."
Pegula is all too aware of what the playoff berth means to Bills fans. He's talked to enough fans since assuming ownership of the team to know the significance of ending a 17-season playoff absence.
"All you had to do is see (Team President) Russ Brandon after the game," Pegula said. "We were in the coaches office after the game and Russ lost it. I felt so good for him because he had been here for the long drought."
"It's similar to having the anvil that we had for my whole 20-year career about the team staying in Buffalo," said Brandon. "That anvil, we threw it in Lake Erie when Terry and Kim bought the team. Now we got another anvil we can throw in Lake Erie.
"It's about the fans and it's about the people who've supported us through thick and thin—they don't have to see that graphic on ESPN any more about the drought. It's just something we shouldn't have to deal with. The community is such a great place. Everything that's happening in our community. It's just nice to see everything happen for Terry, Kim, Sean, Brandon and everybody who did such a great job."
With the playoffs now reality again for the Bills, Pegula already has his focus
"You're always are trying to win," said Pegula. "You don't know when you're going to. We're in the playoffs now. We didn't know that this morning. You can't plan on it. You play the game. We played the game and we eked out a win and Cincinnati did the job for us. If we can get a win next week, that's what it's all about."